EXPLAINING THE B2C AND C2C eCOMMERCE TERMS
The Development of B2C eCommerce
Based on the B2C meaning, transactions occur between businesses and customers, without the necessity of a middleman. B2C eCommerce has been around for the past almost 30 years, but it boomed with the increased use of the internet during the 90’s. The first ever transaction via B2C eCommerce was in 1984, from Tesco, a British grocery superstore. Since then, online transactions between businesses and customers became more and more frequent, as internet access became vastly available. Many businesses investing more in their online presence, or even swapping their physical storefront for solely an online one. With time, the B2C eCommerce practices got refined, alongside the development of email and third-party payment handling.
Amazon, a great example of B2C eCommerce was founded in 1995, and by 2000 B2C eCommerce skyrocketed, indicating our transition to a new, digital era, besides our transition to “just” a new millennium. Since then, B2C eCommerce has seen a few huge advancements, such as the introduction of social media platforms, turn from desktops to smartphones, and the first digital generation of consumers. Several companies rode the wave and came on top, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Alibaba. Today, almost all respectable businesses proceed to online transactions with their customers, offering the convenience of shopping anything, anytime, from the comfort of one’s couch (or office, no shame). The B2C marketplace is getting crowded regardless of commerce sector, and companies have to lead sophisticated campaigns and put a tremendous amount of effort into their business-customer online interface to keep us with their competitors.
With the B2C eCommerce marketplace getting slowly quenched, it was a matter of time until a new eCommerce business model was developed. Online transactions between customers were initiated about 25 years ago, but they only gained popularity relatively recently, making customer-to-customer (C2C) eCommerce the next best thing. Before the eCommerce option, C2C had (and still is) seen application in farmers and flea markets, or even in the “ads” sections of newspapers. Individual sellers would list their product on a physical platform (the market space, and the newspaper in these cases), for customers to find it, but sellers were also considered customers to the platform, hence the customer-to-customer model.
As the internet boomed, C2C transactions also moved online, with more and more platforms being introduced each year. Some very well-known examples of C2C eCommerce are eBay, Craigslist, Airbnb, Uber, and Etsy, amongst dozens of others. Some specific advantages of C2C eCommerce is that it allows for direct communication between customers (sellers and buyers), offers lower cost and higher profit for the transaction, the marketplace facilitates listing of several options for the same product or service specifications, transactions can be competition-driven, and buyers can easily locate rare or specialized products. On the other hand, due to the absence of a corporate or business element, payment might not be guaranteed, there might be issues with product quality, and the marketplace structure might offer ground for scams.